Elly Hong

Podcast: Bina Shah on “Weeds and Flowers”

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Bina Shah speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her short story “Weeds and Flowers,” which appears in Issue 19 of The Common magazine. In this conversation, Shah talks about how the people she observes and encounters in her life in Karachi, Pakistan, inspire her work in fiction. She also discusses her 2018 feminist dystopian novel Before She Sleeps, and the sequel she’s working on now, in addition to her work as a journalist.

Bina Shah and Issue 19 cover

Podcast: Bina Shah on “Weeds and Flowers”
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Podcast: Jethro Soutar on Portuguese Translations

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Translator Jethro Soutar speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about three pieces he translated from Portuguese for Issue 20 of The Common magazine. These pieces appear in a special portfolio of writing from and about the Lusosphere—Portugal’s colonial and linguistic diaspora around the globe. In this conversation, Soutar talks about the complexities of translating poetry and prose: capturing not just the meaning of a piece but the feeling and atmosphere of it, and the culture behind the scenes. He also explains a little of the colonial and racial history of Portugal, Cape Verde, and Mozambique, and how those events echo today through the literature and language of modern Lusophone countries.

Jethro Soutar and Issue 20 cover

Podcast: Jethro Soutar on Portuguese Translations
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 The Common to Receive $15,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

The Common will receive its fifth grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2021. The Art Works grant of $15,000 will be awarded to The Common to help it publish diverse writers, expand its readership, and support The Common’s international portfolios.

NEA logo

In previous years, The Common has published portfolios featuring writers from China to Puerto Rico to Sudan, and, most recently, a collection of writing from the Lusosphere. In Issue 21 (spring 2021), Arabic stories from Morocco will be featured as part of magazine’s annual series in Arabic literature, co-edited by acclaimed Jordanian writer Hisham Bustani. This series bring the best literary fiction from the Arab world to English-language readers. In the fall, The Common will publish a portfolio from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in the Middle East, exploring migration, disorientation, and complicated relationships to “place,” co-edited with award-winning author Noor Naga. All these initiatives are part of The Common’s ongoing commitment to make international literature available to American readers, which has made the journal an essential destination for readers and students of all backgrounds to access vibrant voices and perspectives.

“We are thrilled to receive another generous NEA grant in our tenth anniversary year. With the endowment’s support, we will continue our work broadening readers’ perspectives, promoting cultural exchange, and encouraging mutual respect within the global literary community,” says The Common founder and editor in chief Jennifer Acker.

The Common‘s project is among 1,073 projects across America totaling nearly $25 million that were selected during this first round of fiscal year 2021 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects funding category.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support this project from The Common,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “The Common is among the arts organizations across the country that have demonstrated creativity, excellence, and resilience during this very challenging year.”

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news

 The Common to Receive $15,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
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Podcast: Tanya Coke on “Brother Love”

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Tanya Coke is a lawyer, writer, and philanthropy executive at the Ford Foundation. She speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about “Brother Love,” her essay from Issue 19 of The Common magazine. Coke discusses both the beautiful and the difficult parts of writing about her own family, the process of being a writer and an artist, and what it means to helm the Ford Foundation’s Gender, Race & Ethnic Justice division.

Tanya Coke and Issue 19 cover

Podcast: Tanya Coke on “Brother Love”
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Pandemic Poets: A Conversation with Tess Taylor and Dana Levin

JENNIFER ACKER talks with TESS TAYLOR and DANA LEVIN

On October 21st, 2020, Editor in chief Jennifer Acker moderated a brief reading and conversation between acclaimed poets Tess Taylor and Dana Levin on the importance of place, resiliency, and writing during the pandemic. The virtual event, which served as a fundraiser to celebrate The Common’s 10th publishing year and launch the place-based magazine into its second decade, was streamed live via Left Bank Books in St. Louis. Below is a transcript of the discussion that followed the readings. 

Pandemic Poets: A Conversation with Tess Taylor and Dana Levin
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Postcard from Rhodes

By A. MAURICIO RUIZ

Busy street with old buildings

Rhodes, Greece

At the Mandraki I saw three medieval windmills standing on the pier like heavy friars with their brownish cloaks, also the statues of two Rhodian fallow deer, a buck and a doe, symbols of the island. A theory persists that Crusaders brought deer to the island because their antlers secrete an alkali substance that repels snakes. Standing at the marina I gazed at the platoni, which are smaller than other types of deer, reaching only one meter in height. Their brown coats acquire white mottles in summer, while in winter they darken. Rhodes’s ancient name was Ophiusa, which in old Greek means a place filled with snakes. “That’s why you see cats everywhere,” one of the islanders told me. “They are the guardians of the island. They kill the snakes.”

Postcard from Rhodes
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Podcast: Elisabeth Jaquette on Translating Sudanese Fiction

Translator Elisabeth Jaquette speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about four stories she translated from Arabic for Issue 19 of The Common magazine. These stories appear in a special portfolio of fiction from established and emerging Sudanese writers. In this conversation, Jaquette talks about the delights and difficulties of translating from Arabic, as well as her thoughts on form, style, and satire in literature from the Arab world. She also discusses translating Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, which is currently a finalist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature. 

Elisabeth Jaquette and Issue 19 cover

Podcast: Elisabeth Jaquette on Translating Sudanese Fiction
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Poems in Translation from Bestia di gioia

Poetry by MARIANGELA GUALTIERI
Translated from the Italian by OLIVIA E. SEARS

Poems appear in both Italian and English.

 

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE

Mariangela Gualtieri is a poet of great incandescence. Whether confronting existential questions or questions of daily existence, she writes with searing honesty and compassion. A veteran of the theater, Gualtieri’s voice can be thunderous and oracular, but also painfully intimate.

Poems in Translation from Bestia di gioia
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Review: The Scent of Buenos Aires: Stories by Hebe Uhart

Book by HEBE UHART
Translated from the Spanish by MAUREEN SHAUGHNESSY
Reviewed by JASMINE V. BAILEY

Cover of The Scent of Buenos Aires

In Argentina, the short story is not what you write until you manage to write a novel; it is a lofty form made central by twentieth-century titans like Julio Cortázar, Jorge Luis Borges and Silvina Ocampo. The form has power and prestige in the broader region as well. Hebe Uhart was a product of that literary tradition and came of age as a writer when Cortázar and Borges were at the height of their fame and literary production. At the end of her life, Uhart was recognized by a lifetime achievement award from Argentina’s National Endowment for the Arts and by the international Manuel Rojas Iberian American Award for Literature. Though she produced many volumes, including two novels and several travelogues, she is known for her short stories. It is appropriate, then, that her first work to appear in English — The Scent of Buenos Aires — is a collection of short stories (translated from the Spanish by Maureen Shaughnessy).

Review: The Scent of Buenos Aires: Stories by Hebe Uhart
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